AP NEWS

The Latest: Senate approves keeping legal reviews off web

January 25, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the Montana legislature’s rules (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

The Montana Senate has taken a final vote and passed rules that would make it more difficult for lawmakers and the public to learn when legislative attorneys flag bills for potential legal or constitutional problems.

The Senate voted 29-18 Friday in favor of rules that would bar posting to the Montana Legislature’s website any legal review note that accompanies a bill unless the bill sponsor requests it.

The measure also passed an initial vote on Thursday and it now goes to the House for consideration. The new rules don’t take effect until they are approved by both chambers.

Legal reviews don’t accompany all bills, just those that legislative attorneys find have potential legal problems. The notes have been included on the Legislature’s website since the 2013 session.

12:15 p.m.

The Montana Senate has approved rules that would make it more difficult for lawmakers and the public to learn when legislative attorneys flag bills for potential legal or constitutional problems.

The Senate on Thursday passed rules that would bar posting to the Montana Legislature’s website any legal review note that accompanies a bill unless the bill sponsor requests it. The House also must approve the rule change.

Legal reviews don’t accompany all bills, just those that legislative attorneys find have potential legal problems. The notes have been included on the website since the 2013 session.

Republican Sen. Keith Regier of Kalispell says they are opinions that could bias other lawmakers against bills or cause sponsors to soften language.

Democrats called the move a step backward in making all information available readily accessible to lawmakers.

AP RADIO
Update hourly